I boarded the Great Western Railway https://www.gwr.com/ at Paddington station, destination to Windsor Castle, and in just about an hour I was there. Before walking up to the castle, I walked over the river Thames to Eton. After a short walk up High Street, I noticed what appeared to be a gothic cathedral but was in fact the Eton chapel built nearly 600 years ago. Boys dressed in traditional black suits with white shirts and ties, looking as though they were going to play in an orchestra more so than attending church, filed out of the chapel. It was nice to see some of the students with their families. I walked in for a look, but didn’t take a photo, as I wasn’t entirely sure I was allowed to be in there.
As I walked up the hill to the castle in Windsor in search of food, I felt as though I had been transported back in time. I found Prince Harry’s Pub http://princeharrywindsor.com/ My lunch was the perfect example of English cuisine; roast beef, potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. It was delicious. Pub food in England, is reasonably priced as well as quite good.
You can buy your ticket online prior to arrival to the castle, or purchase there at the ticket counter. https://www.windsor.gov.uk/ There was not a long line to get it, as it usually is during the spring and summer months. The lack of a crowd made the visit more intimate and allowed more time to take in all there. Windsor castle was originally one of many fortresses built by William the Conqueror, who after triumph at the Battle of Hastings, ruled Britain from 1066, to 1087. Monarchs over the years have added their own tastes to the castle, representing medieval, baroque, Georgian and Victorian influences.
In 1992 the castle suffered a destructive fire. After more than 15 hours of firefighting, with the help of 200 firefighters, the fire was suppressed. Fortunately the castle was being rewired, and most of the priceless works of art and furnishings were out of where the destruction took place. They were awaiting an inspection before moving the pieces back into place, with the exception of one work of art brought in early. The fire was started by a halogen bulb behind a curtain. What wasn’t destroyed by fire was destroyed by water. Extensive restoration took place, overseen by Prince Philip, with the help of Prince Charles, with funding from the visitors.
The ticket inside the castle includes a visit inside St George’s Chapel, with the exception of Sundays. It is another example of fine gothic architecture, with construction starting in 1475, by King Edward IV, and finished in 1528 by Henry VIII. https://www.stgeorges-windsor.org Many have been buried there, Henry VIII being one, and many have wedded there; most recently Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
While awaiting evensong in St. George’s Chapel I walked across the street for a cream tea and scone at a quaint bakery and tea shop.
After Windsor Castle closes to the public, you can await to go back around 5 pm to wait in a line for the guards to take you back to the chapel for evensong. The choir sang with angelic voices resonating through the historic walls of the chapel. Evensong or one of the other two services offered there daily is worth a visit. I only wish I could have seen more of the chapel, but now I have a reason to go there again.
A statue of Queen Victoria overlooks the town of Windsor. Christmas lights adorn the main street closed to vehicles. During this Christmas season a light show flickered off of the castle wall. As I walked back to the train I imagined what it would be like to live in such a place. Many in fact do live within the walls. The fact the castle exists as it does today can be attributed to the hard work of all those who work and volunteer there, as well as the efforts of Prince Charles and his father.